Search This Blog

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Poured Out

Poured Out, 18x24, oil on canvas
Here is a new painting fresh off the easel. One of my friends sent me a cropped version of this photo. It is the daughter of one of her friends. She thought I would like the composition. She was correct. The mother sent me the uncropped photo after I asked for it and from there I went to work. I know it is not always the best protocol to use other people's photos, but I can't tell you how many of my family and friends send me photos that they think would make a good painting. It is not always easy to pass them up and this was definitely one of those.
I must admit, the crayons were a challenge. I wanted to keep the mass without getting into too much detail but still keep the crayons individual. The rug was fun. I added the little angel last. This so reminded me of my own children with their coffee can of crayons and markers. I just never thought to take a photo of it at the time.
I sent an image to mom who just wrote me back that she would like to see the painting in person as she does like what she can see in the image. This is not a commissioned piece so I have no expectations. Just wanted the challenge.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Evening Glow Revisited

Evening Glow, 20x10, oil on canvas
"Evening Glow" was painted a year ago spring and is the bottom piece here.  I was never content with this painting I recently hung it in my studio to give myself time to really look at it and last weekend, with a vision in mind, reworked it. The beauty of reworking a painting for me is that the structure or foundation is all there and I just have to get the rhythm and flow going.

The first order of the day was to get rid of my hard edges on the trees, the bridge and the sky. The sky and its reflection were softened and blended to remove the "stained glass" appearance. With the softer blending of the "glow" I was able to add some reds and oranges around the center of the tree on the right to make the tree light up from the sun behind it. I then used a purple color as my "mother" color to give unity to the whole. I used it to soften the edges of the group of tree trunks on the right, in the mountains, in the grass and I added it to the evergreens color as well to bring out some depth to it, as I felt that tree was too flat. I added some warmth to the left bank of the stream leading to the reflection. The last thing was to bring out the second boy.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Museum Musings

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."  Albert Einstein

We went to the Denver Art Museum last week. It has been awhile since I have been, and though I saw many paintings I have seen before many times, I was still able to see many of them with new eyes. I am still amazed at how a little bit of knowledge can send you off with a shift in your perceptions. One example is the room of British portraits. I have always enjoyed it for the historical aspect, but this time I looked at it as if I were the painter. I decided it would have been more laborious than fun and I did come away grateful that we don't wear such clothes with all the beading, embroidery and lace! But then on the other hand, it could be a joy-filled challenge to get into the patterns of it all.

The Western Art collection had a few gems in it, but overall, I think the Anschutz collection was far more worthy. And then there is the collection at the Denver Public Library, which also has a stunning western art collection.

Just a reminder - Vincent Van Gogh coming to Denver Art Museum this fall! Don't miss it!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Before and After - On the Ranch

Deer Hollow Ranch, 18x24, oil on canvas redo

On the Ranch, original from 1997
This is most embarrassing. A painting from 15 years ago or so of my son as a teenager running one of the old Ford tractors on his grandfather's property. The top photo is my attempt to save this painting. I am not convinced it is "finished" but I am done for now. There is something "missing" that I just can't put my finger on right now. The property is in northern California and just sold. It is so much a part of both my offspring's youth I feel compelled to get it right.

It should be an overcast day with rather flat light, which is not in evidence in the original painting. I still have the 4x6 overexposed photograph to work from. The billy goat is one four of my father-in-laws pet goats at the time. There is a goat dairy not far from here and as male goats are 50/50 of births, they are sold for meat. Hence a few were saved from that fate. The goats followed him around the property for years like faithful dogs, even going so far as to protect him from his grandchildren. I think almost all of the grandchildren got butted at least once. The billy goats all met untimely deaths, mostly due to mountain lions. There were also sheep in residence at that time and their numbers were also decimated by the mountain lions.

And so another chapter closes...

Friday, August 3, 2012

American Museum of Western Art

A month or so ago I found out through a friend of mine at work about the Anschutz Collection or as it is now being called, The American Museum of Western Art. The museum is only open to the general public on Mondays and Wednesdays and you must purchase the tickets online, in advance for either the morning tour or the afternoon tour, both of which are scheduled for 1.5 hours. I did not know exactly what to expect this past Wednesday when we went, but I was definitely pleasantly surprised. I want to spread the word on this little gem in downtown Denver.

The museum is housed in the Navarre Building, which is across from the Brown Palace, and has a history of its own. There are approximately 300 paintings hanging on 3 floors. The collection of Western art documents the westward expansion of the US so we start on the first floor with George Catlin in the early 1830's and it goes through the illustrations for James Fenimore Cooper and others of that genre into the late 1800's. So there are some NC Wyeth's, as well as Remington's and Russell's. I can't leave out the Thomas Moran's (I think his big painting is my favorite on the first floor), and Alfred Bierstadt.

On the second floor is what I was really there for. It included the Tao's painters, so this floor starts in the early 1900's. Much to my delight there was a feast for the eyes on the second floor, and I thought the first floor was pretty darn impressive. Here is a list, in no particular order of some of what you will find on the second floor
  • Birger Sandzen
  • Nicolai Fetchin
  • Gustave Baumann
  • Maynard Dixon
  • Georgia O'Keefe
  • Ernest Blumenshein
  • Burt Greer Phillips
  • Joseph Henry Sharp
  • E. Martin Hennings
  • E. Iriving Couse
  • Edward Hopper
  • Guy Wiggins
  • Childe Hassam
Plus I discovered a few new artists. I really fell for Walter Ufer's work and I love a painting by Carl Runglus. There were two amazing Grand Canyon paintings, neither of which did I recognize the artists name.

The third floor was different; housing mostly California painters, from early to more modern times, so quite a range of genre's. We were not allowed to take photos and there were no postcards for sale. Even though I recognized lots of artists that I am familiar with, most of the art in this collection I have not seen and would not have associated with the artist. For instance, a landscape in watercolor by Edward Hopper and an oil painting by Gustave Baumann, better known for his wonderful block prints.

I highly recommend you take a few hours to visit this museum and its collection. $10 admission fee.